The Garden Muse: Indoor Winter gardening

Published 8:41 am Saturday, January 20, 2024

January and February are perfect months to do a little winter gardening indoors. Hmmm you may be thinking to yourself, sounds preposterous! But it is not I say, in fact it can be great fun.

All one needs is a decorative container, soil, pebbles, something to hold up the plants when growing, like sticks or branches etc. and some cold hardy flowering bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, crocus, and hyacinth are all good choices. My favorite are Paper white narcissus and Amaryllis because they do not require chilling. 

There are ways of getting around the chilling requirement for other types of bulbs. If you do not mind spending the money on pre- planted forced bulbs, you can simply buy them and re-pot them into your own container. If you do this, I suggest purchasing ones that have not bloomed yet and being very gentle when repotting. Multiple different bulbs may be planted together, however be careful to observe the depth they were originally planted at when repotting.

Personally, I prefer to spend the money on the bulbs and plant them myself. I like to find pretty cache pots at secondhand stores and outdoor markets for an extremely nominal price and then load them up with as many paper white narcissus as it will hold. The mass of green foliage topped with frilly white flowers is stunning during all stages of growth. 

The choices for objects to use for staking and tying the plants are endless. Be creative and enjoy the process.

For bulb types that are not water forced (grown in water) use a well-draining soil medium. Place bulbs about a half inch apart, tip end up, and as a rule leave ½ to two-thirds of the bulb exposed above the soil. I like to cover the soil with a very thin sprinkle of pea sized gravel or decorative moss. This helps to hold the bulbs in place while watering in and is not necessary but does like pretty.

Place your potted bulbs in a bright sunlit location out of direct sunlight, away from drafts and heating vents. It is very unlikely that these bulbs will rebloom next year.

Dawn Conrad is a Retired Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener, Herbalist, Writer and Artist. She can be contacted at dawn@mygardenmuse.com